Trite but True #5: Be polite

I’m not sure whether “Be polite” is photographic advice or life advice. I’ve noticed a lot of photographers are loud and self-centered. However, the really good photographers tend to be soft-spoken, courteous, and really good listeners.

Whether you are a wedding photographer trying to get Bridezilla to stop crying, a landscape photographer asking a park ranger for an extra five minutes shooting time, or a travel photographer trying to get natives to pose, be polite. Listen and understand before you talk. Speak softly, smile a lot, and say please and thank you. Be unobtrusive. Fit in. Send notes or photos as remembrances to those who helped you.

Here’s a sunset image of Hovenweep Castle that required overstaying the official hours of a national park.

I didn’t demand extra time as my right as a citizen, photographer, and quasi-journalist. I just patiently explained my purposes, showed samples of my work, and promised not to make the ranger late for dinner. Not only did I get my picture, I’m still welcome at the park.

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